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Gen Z and NPD – exciting without overwhelming at point of sale

Julie Vigne Senior Research Director 23/02/2022

Food shopping: an exciting part of your week, a necessary evil, or a real hassle? We all have a view and for many of us, it might not be black or white.

The latest insights from our Grocery Eye report show that for Gen Z, grocery shopping is both more exciting but also more overwhelming compared to all other generations.

here is demand for greater NPD from this audience group, but careful category management and activation will be critical...

On balance, Gen Z has more positive than negative feelings towards grocery shopping (two-thirds are positive), but the younger generation’s scores highlight a key challenge for this age group. 23% feel anxious about grocery shopping and only 21% feel in control (compared to 43% of Baby Boomers). Suggesting there are elements of the shopping experience that just don’t work for this age group. And this is critical to address, both for manufacturers and traditional grocery retailers, as this cohort are also the most likely to have used alternative grocery channels in the last 12-months. For example, 28% have used Amazon and 17% meal box deliveries, and are likely to build life-long loyalty to these channels.

Aside from price, a lot of the frustrations of this generation focus on the assortment and ability to find the products that they want. Gen Z is at the same time more likely to feel overwhelmed by too much choice, yet also desire more choice than other generations.

This generation also appears to like the comfort of relying on trusted brands, with 70% sticking to the brands they know and 18% selecting where to shop because of brands they know that are not available elsewhere. Their key frustrations are that their regular products are ‘disappearing’ from shelves and the time that it takes to do grocery shopping (both 11%). This would suggest that Gen Z are routine shoppers, who like to know exactly where things are and stick to what they know. After all, grocery shopping is a skill that builds up with time and experience and perhaps something that Gen Z hasn’t quite mastered yet.

However, this can’t be said for all Gen Z’s. 31% report feeling excited about grocery shopping and 61% like discovering and trying new products, showing a real opportunity for NPD. This relies on supermarkets ensuring that the Gen Z offer is relevant and stands out in a way that makes shopping easier rather than adding to the clutter and confusion this generation often feels at point of sale.

So how can retailers and manufacturers tap into this curiosity without overwhelming Gen Z?

Think about layout and adjacencies.

Not finding what they want is a real bane for Gen Z, and this audience is unlikely to diverge too much from their usual and safe aisles. So, think about those adjacencies and logical locations this age group is likely to gravitate towards.

Shout about it at Point of Sale.

It seems obvious for all generations, but Gen Z claims to look at POS material a lot more than other age groups. For example, more than 2 in 5 say they will look at online banners.

Tap into the growing interest in sustainability.

31% of Gen Z say they look at labels and certifications. If your product has one, make sure it takes prime position on your pack and on POS material. Also consider QR codes to provide quick access to more detailed information for those who need it.

Simplify shopping and cooking – add a recipe.

Gen Z is more likely to engage with recipes on a pack with 1 in 5 looking at them in-store and 3 in 10 online. Seeing a recipe can remove the guesswork both for consumption and shopping as well as provide excitement.

Faced with more options than previous generations when it comes to grocery shopping, Gen Z could spearhead a shift towards new channels if traditional channels fail to meet their needs for innovation, but also a simplified shopping experience.

There is demand for greater NPD from this audience group, but careful category management and activation will be critical in ensuring products generate excitement rather than confusion.

For more information on how we can help understand shopping behaviours, please get in touch. For more information on how we can help understand shopping behaviours, please get in touch

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